The Dropship caught up with Scott Pyle author of the blog Four-Color Figures to find out about Scott’s new wargames rules, Blasters & Bulkheads. Scott was kind enough to me a give a peak at the pre-publication draft of the game and respond to the questions I bombarded him with!
So first off, what is Blasters & Bulkheads (B&B)? B&B provides rules and scenarios for playing skirmish games in a science fiction universe of exploration, adventure, and cosmic mysticism. These rules strive to emulate conflict with a “Space Opera” or “Science-Fantasy” flavour rather than near future, hard science fiction conflicts. You've probably noticed something a "not-Star Wars" theme from the pictures... This is a table top wargames rule set for fast-moving, heroic or “cinematic” skirmishes.
Whilst this isn’t a detailed review (there's a good, more detailed, review over on TMP), it’s worth mentioning that the goal system is based on a simple system of successes (or ‘goals’) achieved on a fixed target number of 4+ on one or more d6, with a 6 counting as two goals. The number of goals achieved in a roll is counted against a required target number based on the difficulty of a task or the power of a weapon for example.
Characters are made up of 4 attributes: Strength, Agility, Mind and Resolve rated in terms of numbers of dice, as well as a variety of background traits, combat skills, special traits and equipped with a variety of weapons and equipment.
The system is IGOUGO, with players determining initiative each turn with dice roles and taking turns to move characters or units in descending order of initiative until all models have had the opportunity to move and the turn ends.
DH: First up, what makes Blasters & Bulkheads different from the 15mm science fiction wargames rules available already?
Scott: Blasters & Bulkheads has been written as a small group action, character driven skirmish game. It contains rules and material inspired by the Space Opera genre. It is less hard sci-fi and more cinematic sci-fi.
DH: What's special, innovative or interesting about the Goalsystem?
Scott: Goalsystem has been around since 2002, and it has grown and matured over time. It utilizes a D6-based dice pool mechanic to help players decide the action. It features henchmen rules that allow players to move a lot of models around with minimal bookkeeping, a full-fledged campaign system, a system for mysterious powers, and a character-driven sensibility.
DH: A large proportion of 15mm sci fi gamers seem to want to wargame 'hard' sci fi conflict between platoon to company sized 'conventional' forces, do you think there's a market for a smaller scale 'space opera' alternative?
Scott: I sure hope so! Of course, you adjust the measurements to play with 28mm figures, but I wrote this with 15mm figures in mind. I believe 15mm fans will also want to delve into skirmish, playing their games out on 2' x 2' squares, or even in non-traditional environments like old space-ship toys or play-sets. These sorts of pieces can be re-purposed nicely as play environments for 15mm skirmish. Also, imagine how much farther your resin Dwarven Forge sci-fi corridors will go in 15mm.
DH: What type / size of forces do you need to build in order to play Blasters & Bulkheads?
Scott: At the minimum, you'll need 3 figures per side, but most warbands will consist of 4 - 5 character models and a 5-10 henchmen group.
DH: When are the "Space Knights" used in many of the pictures in Blasters & Bulkheads and on your blog going to be available?
Scott: Great question! I am hoping they'll be available by January, 2012. Blue Moon has been really busy with a host of other products, so we'll see. The idea is to release the two figures you've seen the Four-Color Figures blog along with at least a half-dozen others. Thanks for the opportunity to answer questions on Blasters & Bulkheads!
Blasters & Bulkheads is available now from www.wargamesdownloads.com. For $9.95 you get the full-color version (at 101 pages) and the printer-friendly, largely black and white, version (at 100 pages). You can also view full colour sample pages here.
Several of the Dropship crew are now planning to putting together forces to play this fun looking rule set! It's a great excuse to paint up Khurasan Miniatures' DPLS Crew, some of the figures from the Laserburn range, some of excellent Mercs from Critical Mass Games or a host of other unique and interesting 15mm sci fi figures!